Working that bone dry arroyo in the White Tank Mountains Regional Park just west of Phoenix, Arizona. There were scant few flowers to be found there. Those flowers that I was able to find for sure attracted butterflies. When I found flowers in full bloom, all I had to do was wait moments, and from what seemed nowhere, butterflies of known and unknown species would fly directly in, and they’d work the open flowers slowly and methodically.
This American Snout butterfly (Libytheana carinenta) was a fine, willing subject. They please me, when they flash their vivid orange-red patches, white blazes and my bunch recalls Jimmy Durante and his ‘schnoz,’ which the Snouts extended papla always, always remind me of, and the Durante memories . . . make me smile.
That arroyo, please never enter one. I did, many times those years visiting family in Sun City West (Del Webb development). Yes, signs warned to never enter them. Admittedly, I disregarded those signs, and in retrospect, a flash flood, arriving at high speed, and drowning this boy from far away Brooklyn would have been not the way I want to pass.
Those were cherished moments, working the expansive Doak’s Field meadow at Raccoon Creek State Park
in southwestern Pennsylvania. It was July, and the 100-plus acre meadow was in full bloom on those hot, sunny July mornings.
I’d wade into the 5′ tall grass, if I spotted something nice on the Common Milkweed, or Bergamot or late Teasel. I’d be reminded of the classic (now) movie, “Jaws,” for after 13 whole summers on the ocean beach at the Rockaways in Queens, New York, that evil film really got to me, and I’d no longer go into the ocean surf beyond my mid-thighs. Yep, the street kid from Brooklyn met his match with that mind-blowing film. Why reminded of “Jaws?” Because wading through all that tall botany to reach the island of milkweed, I knew that I for sure risked picking up a tick or 2 or 5.
Now in the meadow itself, grass up to my chin, along would come a bouncy little butterfly, you’d know it was a fritillary butterfly, but it was too small to be a Great Spangled frit and Aphrodite frits are very uncommon there. Boing! It’s a Meadow Fritillary Butterfly
. Yay!!! I’d go to that same field sometimes 5 mornings a week, but seeing a Meadow frit? That’d happen maybe once every 3 or 4 years.
Just rewatched the cute movie, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Reminded of those Meadow Fritillary Butterflies. Each time I saw these tiny beauts, I’d marvel at how other butterflies were often severely birdstruck, but the Meadow Frits were nearly always full in wing, unscathed.
I’d daydream when I saw them, that they were precious broaches at Tiffany’s (been there at times) that’d decided to take wing and fly out those heavy Tiffany revolving doors, and enjoy a brief flight along Fifth Avenue, to the pleasure of the throngs fortunate enough to take notice of them.